This site will look much better in a browser that supports web standards. We strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.

Image of an area suffering from salination problems. Image of Shakespeare quote

Projected Output of Practical Systems

A wide range of solar distillation systems is proposed by MAXWATER.

A simple distillation system built as a transparent cover over sheltered water, with movement of the distilled water as vapour to an elevated coastal ridge might have dimensions of say 100 x 1000 m. The output of such a simple system is expected to be of the order of 1,500,000 l/d (550 megalitres/y).

A 100Km system with 20m wide evaporation channel and black supply pipe + reflecting fence would be expected to have an output in the region of 30.000,000 l/d or a little over 100 gigalitres/y )

If the ambition is to drought-proof Australia it would be necessary to provide a number of systems adapted to the local conditions. These systems would need to have a total capacity of around 4x1012 l / year. This would add 10% to the total water available, and this additional water would be directed to areas of need and would be available continuously, year in year out, drought or no drought. An extensive set of systems would be necessary to achieve this.

At its simplest, one hundred 500 Km channels would be needed. This is a huge undertaking, but a combination of system types will make the system far more compact and varied. Its effect would be far more advantageous than the Snowy River scheme for example and the cost may not be greater.

An important question is the effect on the environment. The systems proposed are adaptable. For example in some areas elevated channels, with housing, farming, agriculture, or undisturbed environments beneath are envisaged. In other areas, such as a flat plain at the foot of a ridge, wide evaporating areas with the water vapour carried to hilltops by convection would be favoured. In these ways the required area of the system becomes far more compact and environmentally desirable.

As the system is developed the normal flow in rivers can be gradually restored, previously marginal land can be converted to rich farmland and, coupled with an energetic programme to plant deep rooted salt tolerant native plants, the ecosystems so degraded during the last century can be partially restored.

Other benefits include the staged removal of salt from salt affected land and les dependence on the excessive tapping of aquifers and the depletion of fossil water.

Recovery of salt and other minerals could be an important commercial spin off. In aquaculture seawater settling ponds are increasingly used. The pure water evaporating from these is just forgotten, as it is on a far larger scale over salt ponds in the salt industry. Recovery of distilled water in collaboration with these industries alone would make a significant contribution to pure water supplies and at the same time benefit those industries.

Further advantages of the MAXWATER system are the removal of toxins from affected water and the sterilisation of all water treated. This is of course due to the combined effect of elevated temperature and the fact that micro-organisms do not evaporate. These advantages could have application in improving the quality of water in large cities, in the management of pollution in flooded areas and in developing the safe use of sewage.